Wichita police have released both the prank 911 call that led to an officer shooting an unarmed man and the body cam footage of the shooting. The mother of the victim blames police for murdering her son.
On Friday, the Wichita Police Department released the hoax call they received from an unknown suspect about a domestic dispute involving his father.
At 6:18pm, an officer working at the security desk at City Hall called 911 with the suspect on the line. However, when the dispatcher answered the phone, the caller was no longer on the line.
The responding officer described the situation to the dispatcher, telling her the caller said his mother just hit his dad over the head with a handgun. The officer explained that the caller was having trouble connecting to the police, and gave her the suspect’s number.
“I have his phone number, but for some reason, either he is hanging up or I can’t transfer it,” the officer said.
The dispatcher then made an outbound call to the suspect, who told the dispatcher that he had an argument with his parents and shot his father.
“They were arguing and I shot him in the head and he’s not breathing anymore,” the caller said.
The dispatcher asked several questions about where the caller was located in the house and what kind of gun he had. The caller gave vague answers that he was in his mother’s room, pointing his father’s black handgun at his mother and younger brother.
“I’m just pointing the gun at them, making sure they stay in the closet – my mom and my little brother,” the suspect said.
“Okay, is there any way that you can put the gun up?” the dispatcher asked.
“No. Are you guys sending someone over here, cause I’m definitely not going to put it away,” the suspect said.
The dispatcher continued to ask questions to try to keep the caller on the line. After a moment, the caller threatened to burn the house down.
“I’m thinking about – cause I already poured gasoline all over the house. I might just set it on fire,” the caller said.
“Okay, well we don’t need to do that, okay?” the dispatcher said.
“In a little bit I might,” the caller responded.
The caller then asked the dispatcher to verify if the police had the correct address and repeated it with the zip code. The police continued to try to keep the caller on the line, asking about the house, and which direction it was facing, but the caller didn’t seem to know.
“I don’t know it’s just facing the street,” the caller said. “My dad isn’t breathing. It’s kind of giving me anxiety – making me like, paranoid.”
The prank caller also described the home as having one story, when it turned out the house had two, which wasn’t picked up on by police.
The dispatcher then asked the caller about his race, trying to keep him on the line.
The caller went silent, only saying “it was an accident” before the call ended.
In a later call released by the police, officers said that they were unable to call the suspect’s number back.
Many of those who make ‘swatting’ calls have used caller ID spoofing or other technology that disguise their real numbers as being local, according to 911.gov.
The Wichita Police Department also released body cam footage from the responding officers at the scene at the end of the dispatch call.
When responding officers arrived at 1033 W. McCormick Street, Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston said the police were ready for a large-scale situation. There were officers posted at every corner of the house when Andrew Finch opened the door and walked out toward police.
Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston said that officers instructed Finch to put his hands in the air and walk toward them. When Finch put his hands down, the officers assumed he was pulling a gun and fired at Finch.
“The officers on the north side of the street feared the male pulled a weapon from his waistband, retrieved a gun and was in the process of pointing it at the officers to the east. Fearing for those officers’ safety, the officer on the north side fired one round,” Livingston said, according to the Wichita Eagle.
Finch, 28, died at the local hospital. He was unarmed.
The officers removed four people from the house, but found there were no hostages or dead people inside.
During a press conference Friday, Livingston called the shooting a “tragic and senseless act,” and blamed the prank callers.
“The irresponsible acts of a prankster put people’s lives at risk,” he said. “The incident is a nightmare for everyone involved, including the family and our police department. Due to the action of a prankster, we have an innocent victim. If the false police call had not been made, we would not have been there.”
However, Lisa Finch, Andrew’s mother, blames the police for murdering her son, despite the prank call.
“What gives the cops the right to open fire? Why didn’t they give him the same warning they gave us? That cop murdered my son,” Lisa Finch, told the Eagle.
Livingston said police are working with federal authorities to find the person who made the original “swatting” call.
‘Swatting’ is a term that refers to making a false report with emergency police with the intention of getting a Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) team sent to another person’s house.
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